The top 20 places to live if you want to escape the city

Rutland comes out top in survey on top country locations

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The Independent Online

The lucky residents of Rutland, in the East Midlands, have the highest quality of rural life in Britain, experiencing better than average: health, life expectancy, crime, weather, school results and employment.

Although the list was dominated by the South East (14/50 areas), Rutland came out top in Halifax’s Annual Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey.

96% of Rutland’s residents were said to be in good or fairly good health, according to the report and the weather conditions in the East Midlands location are significantly better than average.

Annual rainfall in the region is 200mm lower than the national average and the region’s inhabitants enjoy nearly an hour more sunshine per week than the average Briton.

A move to Rutland would not be cheap, however, with the average house price coming in at 6.7 times the local pre-tax income, compared with the national average of 6.2.

But, you do get a lot for your money, with Rutland’s houses (along with runners up Chiltern and Uttlesford) having an average of 6.4 habitable rooms – almost one more than the national average.

Aside from Rutland, other notable rural hot-spots included Chiltern, which has moved up six places this year to second place and Buckinghamshire, where the inhabitants have a high average life expectancy of 82.2 years, with 97% of the residents reporting good health.

Scotland’s beautiful Orkney Islands also made the top-50 and Monmothshire in Wales was noted for its high living standards.

The north/south divide was highlighted when the report revealed that southern areas received higher ratings for earnings, the weather, health and life expectancy, while northern areas score highly on education in terms of grades and smaller class sizes, lower house prices in relation to earnings, and both lower traffic flows and population densities.

Here are the 50 rural areas with the best quality of life:

1. Rutland, East Midlands

2. Chiltern, South East

3. Uttlesford, East of England

4. South Northamptonshire, East Midlands

5. Rushcliffe, East Midlands

6. Waverley, South East

7. South Cambridgeshire, East of England

8. Mid Sussex, South East

9. Huntingdonshire, East of England

10. South Oxfordshire, South East

11. Babergh, East of England

12. East Hertfordshire, East of England

13. West Oxfordshire, South East

14. South Kesteven, East Midlands

15. East Cambridgeshire, East of England

16. North Kesteven, East Midlands

17. Aylesbury Vale, South East

18. Tonbridge and Malling, South East

19. Wealden, South East

20. Mid Suffolk, East of England

21. Orkney Islands, Scotland

22. Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber

23. Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber

24. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber

25. Malvern Hills, West Midlands

26. Harborough, East Midlands

27. New Forest, South East

28. Vale of White Horse, South East

29. Wychavon, West Midlands

30. Tewkesbury, South West

31. South Derbyshire, East Midlands

32. St Edmundsbury, East of England

33. Tandridge, South East

34. South Staffordshire, West Midlands

35. South Norfolk, East of England

36. Ryedale, Yorkshire and The Humber

37. Test Valley, South East

38. West Berkshire, South East

39. East Riding of Yorkshire, Yorkshire and the Humber

40. Shetland Islands, Scotland

41. Cherwell, South East

42. Suffolk Coastal, East of England

43. Cotswold, South West

44. North Dorset, South West

45. Wiltshire, South West

46. Monmouthshire, Wales

47. East Dorset, South West

48. Newark and Sherwood, East Midlands

49. Aberdeenshire, Scotland

50. Herefordshire, West Midlands